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Judge Larson says he Will Issue a Ruling by Aug. 7 on Williams’ Case

In an article listed in the Star Trubune , source say that District Court Judge Gary Larson will issue a ruling on whether Kevin and Pat Williams can play for the Vikings this season on or before August 7.

The judge conducted a final hearing Wednesday morning with lawyers for the NFL and the Pro Bowl defensive tackles.

The matter has been playing out in federal and state courtrooms since last winter, with issues still pending in both jurisdictions.

The NFL wants Larson to delay any proceedings on the matter until after a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. District Court of Appeals hears appeals of a ruling by federal Judge Paul Magnuson. The oral arguments are set for Aug. 18. The court is expected to rule by September.

If Larson doesn’t wait, the risk is that the federal and state courts will issue conflicting rulings, NFL lawyer Joseph Schmitt said. “We are sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ desire to get the matter resolved. We share that desire. … However, the most important consideration is not speed, but accuracy,” Schmitt argued.

The players want to proceed immediately in state court with a trial before the season begins. Absent a trial next month, Ginsberg asked that Larson wait to conduct a trial until after the season.

Last year, the Williamses filed a lawsuit in state court contending that the NFL’s drug-testing procedures violate state workplace laws, and they asked that a judge void their suspensions.

The players argue that Minnesota law gives employees an opportunity to explain use of a product innocently used but otherwise banned, but the NFL didn’t allow the Williamses to explain their use of the over-the-counter supplement StarCaps. The supplement was found to contain the banned diuretic bumetanide, which can mask steroid use but was not listed as an ingredient on the label.

Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association filed suit in federal court on the players’ behalf. As part of that suit, NFL attorneys argued that federal court had jurisdiction over the labor laws that govern its drug-testing program and that the state claims should be dismissed.

Magnuson dismissed the union’s claims that the suspensions violated the players’ collective bargaining agreement. But he sent the Williamses’ claims under state law back to state court, saying they were not pre-empted by the union agreement as the NFL had argued.

Both sides have appealed parts of Magnuson’s rulings.

The impact of these entire proceedings have a huge impact on the 2009-10 season for the Vikings as well as on the overall credibility of the Roger Goodell’s substance abuse policy.

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